[MY VIEW] Should Coach Bob Bradley stay or go? As U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati ponders this difficult decision, not to be ignored is history's demonstration that a long tenure as national team boss isn’t a reliable formula for World Cup success.
However exciting the USA’s 2010 run in South Africa may have been, it ended unsatisfactorily with a round-of-16 exit.
Bradley’s team met the minimum expectation and couldn’t match the 2002 achievement, when Bruce Arena guided the USA to quarterfinals.
Surely the Arena experience warrants a revisit. He stayed on for four more years after the quarterfinal run -- making him the longest-serving national team coach at the 2006 World Cup -- and the USA exited in the first round. One got the sense that eight years -- an almost unheard of tenure in international soccer – was simply too long.
Not one of the 2010 World Cup quarterfinalists was coached by a man who had been in charge at the previous World Cup.
In fact, only two of the 32 teams at the 2010 World Cup were headed by their 2006 World Cup coaches: Marcello Lippi, who won the 2006 title with Italy, and Raymond Domenech, who guided France to a runner-up finish in 2006.
Both Lippi (who left after the 2006 World Cup and then returned after Euro 2008) and Domenech presided over embarrassing first-round exits.
The 2010 World Cup champion Spain and runner-up Netherlands were coached by men who took charge in 2008. Only three coaches (see below) were in charge eight or more years when they led their team to the World Cup title.
For whatever qualities Bradley has, and no doubt there are many, changing the boss seems the more likely prescription for World Cup progress.
World Cup champion coaches
1930 Alberto Supici, Uruguay (2 years)
1934 Vittorio Pozzo, Italy (5 years)
1938 Vittorio Pozzo, Italy (9 years)
1950 Juan Lopez, Uruguay (4 years)
1954 *Sepp Herberger, West Germany (10 years)
1958 Vicente Feola, Brazil (1st year)
1962 Aymore Moreira, Brazil (1 year)
1966 Alf Ramsey, England (3 years)
1970 Mario Zagallo, Brazil (1st year)
1974 Helmut Schoen, West Germany (10 years)
1978 Cesar Luis Menotti, Argentina (4 years)
1982 Enzo Bearzot, Italy (7 years)
1986 Carlos Bilardo, Argentina (3 years)
1990 Franz Beckenbauer, West Germany (6 years)
1994 Carlos Alberto Parreira, Brazil (3 years)
1998 Aime Jacquet, France (6 years)
2002 Luiz Felipe Scolari, Brazil (1 year)
2006 Marcello Lippi, Italy (2 years)
2010 Vicente del Bosque, Spain (2 years)
*Herberger's tenure was interrupted by World War II.